Friday, August 10, 2007

Birthday Dinner and Dessert

Last night was Carli's birthday, so of course we had to celebrate in our usual fashion with a great dinner and dessert. One of our favorite things to do is breakfast for dinner. Only this time we stepped it up a bit and made it a big ole country breakfast for dinner.

We had chicken fried steak, country gravy, homestyle potatoes, scrambled or sunny-side-up eggs, cooked asparagus served cold with blue cheese dressing. And for dessert a fresh strawberry confection called "Yummy Strawberry Delight".

I made a few changes on the original recipe, so the dessert came out a little extra gooey. But it also was extra delish! First I'll give you the original recipe and then I'll tell you about my additions/changes/mistakes.

Yummy Strawberry Delight

  • 1 C flour
  • 1/2 C butter or margerine
  • 1 C coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 1 C sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 3 5/8oz pkgs instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 C milk
  • 1-2 baskets sliced or halved strawberries
  • Cool Whip, Dream Whip, or whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13" X 9" pan. Combine flour and butter or margerine in a bowl. Cut butter into flour with pastry blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add pecans and mix well. Press in an even layer into buttered pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Blend cream cheese with 1 T milk and confectioner's sugar until fluffy. Spread over crust. Mix pudding with milk and pour over cream cheese mixture. Place in fridge until firm. Add strawberries right before serving and garnish with whipped cream.

So there you have the original recipe. I wish I could tell you where I got it, but I've had it so long I'm afraid I can't remember. Probably a magazine or something. Anyhow, I thought I would change it up a bit, and for better or worse, this is what I did:

I used one package of instant vanilla and one package of instant banana pudding. On top of the cream cheese layer I added a jar of that marshmallow stuff, oddly enough called "Marshmallow Fluff". It was really hard to spread so I heated it in the microwave for a few seconds. If you do that BE CAREFUL. It really fluffs up and over the top of the jar very easily. Just keep an eye on it or put it in a bigger container before heating. When I finally got that gooey mess spread to my satisfaction, I made the pudding mixture. I dumped both packages together. Now here's a little tip: READ DIRECTIONS! I misread the directions and added only two cups of milk instead of 3 1/2. (I didn't figure that out until it was too late.) I spread half of the pudding mixture over the marshmallow layer. I sliced up two bananas and layered them over the pudding. This is where I suspected something wasn't right, but I soldiered on. I poured the second half of the pudding over the banana slices. I thought it didn't seem like enough pudding and it was getting thick too fast! Oh well, we had to carry on. I bought a half flat of fresh strawberries from a roadside stand (they are always so much better than the grocery store). I sliced the tops off and arranged them on top of the cake. Then I made a glaze of about one cup of strawberry jam and some leftover cranberry jelly, mixed with about 1/2 cup of orange liquer. I mixed it in a pot over low heat until it was all melted, and then brushed it over the strawberries. That certainly hid a lot of flaws. The cake actually looked good at that point.

I don't know if it was from heating the fluff or a chemical reaction of some sort from coming into contact with the cream cheese, but the marshmallow fluff never hardened again. After thinking about this for a while I think it was from being next to the cream cheese. My nail lady had told me a great strawberry dip recipe which was a jar of fluff mixed with a couple tablespoons of cream cheese. I think that's what happened. Even though it was a bit messy to get out of the pan, and I didn't do the pudding mix right, with a dallop of whipped cream on top it was really, really good.

And the whole evening was even better because Carli's fiance, who normally works out of town until the weekend, was able to come in and join us. I'm sure glad it wasn't me that had to get up at 3:30 am to get back to work on time!

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